This is the mid-series finale of Doctor Who. Promising us a resolution to last week’s uber-cliffhanger, not to mention the River Song mystery that has run for literally years, it would be helpful if this was brilliant, wouldn’t it? After teasing us with subplots for so many weeks, neutering the second episode of the series to amp them up, it should be great.
So, is it?
Rory Is A Man
Well, there were a lot of fun moments. Sontaran nurse and Victorian lizard-lady were great incidental characters, and stole the best bits. Seeing Roman Rory again was a nice touch, though the explanation was flimsy, even compared to the last time he swung that way, and of course it’s good to have him trying to “be cool”.
So as an exercise in hurling ideas at the screen, this was fantastic; I saw the Doctor trip over the kitchen sink during one of his hurried walks. The plot itself seemed a little thin, though. The obvious non-victory at the half-hour mark took a while to achieve, then I sat for an age, waiting for reprisals whilst the cast exchanged smug dialogue hinting at mysteries, and by the time the inevitable happened, it needed to be the best thing ever.
River Song Is A Girl
The identity of River Song wasn’t a big shock either, I guessed it last week, as did many others, but conversely I’m not going to criticise that. They finally resolved a subplot; it made sense and opened up new ideas for the future. Nice scene, too.
But one other thing did bother me – the volume of melodramatic statements about how important events are. Yes, the Doctor is a great bloke and he’s going to rise higher than ever, sailing on a unicorn, before falling like no mammal has before. I know. You’ve told me seven times. I’d rather have more proper character scenes, like the lovely one where the Doctor and the Pond family are re-united, and less speechifying.
And it’s risky to amp expectations up that much, considering ultimately not much happened. In truth, there was enough progression for a “mid-series” finale, but it felt a damp squib after so much talking up.
A Conclusion Is Necessary
So did I actually like it? It’s hard to say, because there was a decent pay-off in the final ten minutes, interesting questions about the nature of the Doctor, charming scenes along the way, but the first two thirds still seemed overly self-important to me. So let’s call it a draw.
Unfortunately, on that bittersweet note, we are done until September’s exciting-sounding “Let’s Kill Hitler”. I gather Torchwood is back next month to tide us over, and you can always watch the episode again on iPlayer. But for now, thanks for reading, do disagree with me below.